CBS's Gayle King: Black people in Virginia don't believe Northam is a racist

CBS “This Morning” host Gayle King on Monday said that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) “has a lot of support in the state of Virginia,” while adding that the people she has spoken to in the state “do not believe” the governor is racist.

"It's a very interesting time for the governor because what I walked away feeling is that he so wants to make this right," said King following an interview with Northam that aired Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

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"I talked to black people and white people in Virginia who say — he has a lot of support in the state of Virginia — who say look at his history, what he's done."

"No one — the people that I talked to do not believe he's racist," she concluded. "They think it was a stupid thing but don't think he's racist."

Northam faced pressure from a number of national and local Democrats to resign earlier this month after a racist photo was uncovered on his medical yearbook page from 35 years ago. Northam initially apologized for the photo, which features one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood, but later said he was not either of the figures in the picture.

The governor did admit to once dressing in blackface for a Michael Jackson dance contest in 1984 around the same time the yearbook photo was taken.

King's comments come as a Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted last week found 47 percent of Virginia residents surveyed want Northam to resign, while the same percentage want him to stay.

Of the African-Americans surveyed in that poll, 58 percent said that they prefer Northam remain in office while 37 percent said they think he should resign. Forty-eight percent of white residents surveyed said they wanted Northam to resign, with 46 percent stating a preference to stay.

Along party lines, 57 percent of Democrats said Northam should remain in the governor's mansion, while 56 percent of Republicans said he should step down.